How to Dye Fabric With Cabbage Juice

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Dye your fabric a surprising color with red cabbage.
Dye your fabric a surprising color with red cabbage. (Image: red cabbage studio isolated over white image by dinostock from Fotolia.com)

Cotton quilt fabric, t-shirts, caps and tennis shoes are just some of the items that can be dyed with natural dye liquids. This method of dying has been around for centuries, and is the only way people colored their clothing before the invention of modern chemical dyes. Surprisingly, when you dye fabric with red cabbage juice, you end up with an attractive blue colored fabric. Use natural fibers like cotton or wool for the best results in your natural dying experiments.

Things You'll Need

  • Red cabbage
  • Knife
  • Heavy pots
  • Stove
  • Rubber gloves
  • Strainer
  • Vinegar
  • Measuring cup

Chop up two heads of red cabbage into pieces about 2 inches across. Place all the cabbage pieces into a heavy pot. Fill the pot with water so that it is twice as deep as the cabbage. Put the pot on a stove burner and simmer it for one hour.

Strain the cabbage from the boiled cabbage juice. Keep the cabbage juice in another heavy pot and discard the boiled cabbage leaves. Wear rubber gloves for all these procedures to keep your hands from being stained.

Make a mixture of four parts cold water and one part white vinegar. Place the mixture into another heavy pot. Place the fabric to be dyed into the pot of vinegar water. Place the pot on the stove and simmer it for one hour.

Remove the fabric from the vinegar water and rinse it in cool, clear water. Continue rinsing until the water runs completely clear. Wring out the fabric until it is wet but not dripping.

Place the wet fabric into the pot with the cabbage juice. Place the pot on a stove burner and simmer the juice and fabric until you have achieved your desired color. Keep in mind that the color will be lighter after the fabric has dried.

Remove the fabric from the cabbage juice dye and rinse it in cold water until the water runs clear. Hang the fabric in a shady spot to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear old clothes when dying fabric to prevent ruining your good clothing with unwanted dye spots.

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